Art Basel, the world’s premier art fair, is returning this week despite myriad challenges thrown up by the global pandemic. Having stepped up its digital game during the health crisis, the fair is now offering a ramped up virtual experience for all those whose travel plans have been hampered by red lists, vaccines, or quarantines. So, whether you’re attending Art Basel in person or vicariously, we’re here to bring you the most up-to-date sales, trends, and analysis. We'll be updating this guide every day, so be sure to keep checking in!
Our selection of unmissable events at the city's museums and satellite fairs
At the design fair, contemporary designers are creating collectible rarity through the judicious use of discarded and salvaged material
The first edition of Art Basel to take place since the onset of the global pandemic is full of new works created in the midst of lockdown
From Kara Walker's unseen personal archives to a fresh take on Camille Pissarro as the leader of the Impressionists
Marina Abramović is one of many contemporary artists who have paid tribute to Joseph Beuys—alongside Ai Weiwei, Olafur Eliasson, Christoph Schlingensief and Matthew Barney, to name just a handful.
In 2005, Abramović re-enacted his performance work How to Explain Pictures to a Dead Hare at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York. She said she wanted to remind a younger public of the “immensity” of Beuys’s work. “I think they are starting to forget,” she said. “But we can’t forget. Everything is going in cycles in art.”
Beuys, who would have turned 100 this year, is often mentioned in the same breath as Marcel Duchamp and Andy Warhol as a towering figure of the 20th century. His relic-like sculptures in felt, fat and wax are not as consumer-friendly and accessible as Warhol’s upbeat Marilyns and beans. But in our current era of social and environmental upheaval, Beuys’s ability to cross the borders between art and politics make him perhaps more relevant and exciting. Abramović’s “cycles of art” are rotating Beuys back into the foreground.
It is hard to categorise the work of the artist Korakrit Arunanondchai, who says his most important materials are time and history. Often described as following the concept of the gesamtkunstwerk (total work of art), Arunanondchai uses everything from video, sculpture, performance, music and painting—often using denim for canvas—to create super-sensory shamanic-like experiences that question the limits of this world and the possibility of an afterlife.
Born in Thailand, Arunanondchai splits his time between Bangkok and New York, though he was caught in Thailand during the pandemic, where he spent the year developing his painting and working on two new videos, which are now on show at the Migros Museum in Zurich—the artist’s first solo institutional exhibition in Switzerland. You can also find Arunanondchai’s work on Carlos/Ishikawa’s stand at Art Basel.
Marc Spiegler, the global director of Art Basel, has just listened to an episode of the Ezra Klein podcast, on the extended mind. “It’s about how humans are trained to think not in a linear, static way, but in a moving, physical way. It’s about learning to take notice of what we call intuition or gut feelings, and reading body signals as cues when interacting with others. The way your mind works differently when you’re walking as opposed to when you’re sitting.”
Competition between Zurich, one of Europe’s most important banking hubs, and Basel, the home of pharmaceutical giants, has traditionally been fierce. Passions run high when their two football teams, FC Zurich and FC Basel, meet on the pitch.
Until now, Basel has had the edge as a destination for art lovers. But Zurich is playing catch up—and will soon be home to the biggest art museum in Switzerland. On 9 October, a major new extension to the Kunsthaus Zurich, built by the British architect David Chipperfield at a cost of SFr206m ($223m), will open to the public.
Philippe Parreno is a master of exhibition making. Ever since he emerged in the 1990s, the French-Algerian artist has used the spaces he shows in and the immediate environment around them as an active presence in his work. Architectural elements in the gallery might be animated at certain moments; screens might descend to show examples of Parreno’s richly diverse video works. Often these actions are triggered by hidden environmental forces harnessed by Parreno as data to orchestrate his shows.
Throughout the works there is a consistent interest in constructions of reality, in fiction and science-fiction, the idea of the automaton and artificial intelligence, but always in relation to human movement and bodily presence within the exhibition space.
In this adapted extract from his new book Van Gogh’s Finale, Martin Bailey examines the portrait of Marguerite Gachet in the Kunstmuseum Basel
WIn this adapted excerpt from her new book, The Rise and Rise of the Private Art Museum, Georgina Adam examines the motivations of collectors who founded their own art spaces